Texas

Judges OK political map in Fort Worth, saying new boundaries no longer discriminate

Long time Como residents worry that development in the neighborhood will increase property taxes

Brothers Don Byrd and Anthony Byrd, who grew up in Como, they are concerned about prices uprooting those on fixed incomes.
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Brothers Don Byrd and Anthony Byrd, who grew up in Como, they are concerned about prices uprooting those on fixed incomes.

There’s a new House District 90.

Kind of.

The lines around the Fort Worth district have been redrawn slightly, mostly around Sansom Park and Jacksboro Highway, shifted just enough for three federal judges to sign off on the map, saying that it rectifies gerrymandering in the district.

“It’s done,” said state Rep. Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth, who represents this district. “This is the map in place for next year.”

The changes were needed because the district was singled out and cited for deliberate discrimination by lawmakers when the U.S. Supreme Court approved redistricting maps in Texas.

Judges last year said race was wrongly used as a key factor when the boundary lines were redrawn in 2013.

At the time, the district was represented by then-Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, who was defeated by Romero the next year.

The oddly shaped district stretches through much of Fort Worth and includes the Stockyards, Como, Polytechnic Heights and the near north side. The northern border is near Fort Worth’s Meacham International Airport; the southern border is near Edgecliff Village.

The court ruling last year stated that Burnam’s changes to the district mostly modified the western boundary of the district by swapping some populations with House District 99, represented by Republican Charlie Geren of Fort Worth.

The newly redrawn lines, signed off on May 28, slightly affect the House Districts that surround it, particularly HD 99 and HD 97, represented by Republican Craig Goldman of Fort Worth.

Ramon said the changes essentially return some neighborhoods to HD 90 and impact perhaps around 700 people.

Key takeaways:

Lake Como, an African American community, remains in HD 90.

Among the precincts moved back into this House district: 4073, 4138, 4634 (partial), 1674 and 1684.

One precinct was removed: 4687.

The map not only keeps Como in this House District, the court ruling states, but “it eliminates the changes that led this Court to find racial gerrymandering.”

This plan “appears to remedy the constitutional violation while respecting the Legislature’s choices,” the ruling states.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is among the groups that have been fighting for this district to change.

“Once again, a federal court has had to step in and redraw district lines to cure racial discrimination,” Nina Perales. vice president of litigation for MALDEF, said in a statement. “Texas should remember these lessons when it redistricts again in two years.”

The map will be used in the 2020 election.

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.
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